A U.N.-brokered peace agreement appeared to hold Thursday after the government of Bashar al-Assad halted attacks on rebel forces ahead of the planned deadline. But the country’s defense ministry reserved the right to retaliate against “armed terrorist groups,” casting doubt on the agreement’s longer-term viability. By 6 a.m. Thursday, the cease-fire deadline, the government had not yet launched any attacks on rebels, a hopeful sign after shelling was in progress on in Homs and Damascus only hours before. Top rebel leaders said they plan to test the ceasfire with massive protests on Friday.
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